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(Canada Beef Inc.)
February 16, 2024 Health & Production

Reminders for humane transport

Every day, thousands of cattle travel by trailer. Most of these animals are fit for the journey and experience no negative outcomes. However, there are instances where we must ask, “is this animal fit to load and be transported?”

Updates to the Health of Animals Regulations Part XII, Humane Transport took effect in 2020. Now, there are certain conditions listed in legislation that determine an animal’s fitness for transport.

First, a couple of definitions:

Unfit – cannot be transported except upon the order of veterinarian to receive care.

Compromised – can be transported only to the nearest place where it can receive care or be humanely killed (this place cannot be an auction market except in an emergency situation). In these cases, you must use special provisions like loading in a separate compartment, providing extra bedding, and the maximum journey must be less than 12 hours.

Conditions that render an animal unfit for transport include, but are not limited to: very poor body condition, severe cancer eye, extreme bloating and lameness to the extent that it can’t walk on all four legs and exhibits signs of pain, halted movement or a reluctance to walk. If a cow is in the last 10 per cent of gestation or has given birth during the previous 48 hours, it is also unfit for transport.

Conditions that render an animal compromised for transport include, but are not limited to: unhealed injuries, blindness in both eyes, peak lactation, an unhealed or acutely injured penis, mild bloat or lameness that doesn’t fit the unfit definition.

Lameness can be one of the more difficult conditions to accurately judge prior to loading. Is the animal simply stiff, or is there a problem with mobility and they are in pain?

Tools like locomotion scoring can help to objectively determine whether an animal’s gait is normal, and if they should or shouldn’t get on that trailer.

It’s critical to familiarize ourselves with the various conditions that would classify cattle as compromised or unfit for transport, to ensure public confidence in our production systems. It only takes one viral video to ruin livelihoods.

More information is available on the CFIA website at

This article was first published in Volume 3 Issue 4 of ABP Magazine (December 2023). Watch for more digital content from the magazine on ABP Daily.

About the Author

Karin grew up on a mixed farm near Keoma, AB, raising purebred Simmental cattle and grain, and is still involved in the family operation to a limited extent. She has a Master’s Degree in Agriculture from the University of Alberta, and her thesis focused on the genetic and metabolic factors affecting feed efficiency in beef cattle. Before joining Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) in 2011, Karin spent just over four years with the Canadian Hereford Association as their Breed Development Coordinator. At ABP, Karin is the Lead, Beef Production and Extension, providing technical support in the areas of cattle health and welfare, research, and production practices.  She works very closely with several industry and government organizations on issues of importance to the industry, and large part of her job is translating science to producers and explaining producer needs to researchers.


Cattle Report

Updated: 12/04/2024


Live: ---
Rail: 415.00-420.00 del


Live: ---
Rail: 415.00-420.00 del

Choice Steers

Live: 182.00 (KN, TX) 185.00 (NE)
Rail: 293.00-295.00 (NE, IA)

Choice Heifers

Live: 182.00 (KN, TX) 185.00 (NE)
Rail: 293.00-295.00 (NE, IA)

Boner Cows

Over 500 lbs: 250.84

Canadian Dollar

$72.82   0.32

Livestock Price Insurance Index

Expiry Fed Feeder Calf
8-Jul-24 226 -- --
5-Aug-24 222 318 --
2-Sep-24 220 324 --
30-Sep-24 220 324 366
28-Oct-24 218 324 366
25-Nov-24 216 320 364
23-Dec-24 222 312 360
Last Updated on April 11, 2024

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